USA’s President, Donald Trump, insinuated on Saturday that he is ‘a very stable genius’. In the White House on Wednesday,Prime Minister Erna Solberg can make up her own mind.
‘Although it may be a challenging exercise, she must treat him as an adult man. She has to avoid provoking him, while helping to keep the conversation going and making important points for Norway’, said a source with long experience in the foreign service
to NTB news.
He admitted that Trump’s unpredictable and distinctive nature will probably contribute to creating some uncertainty in the Norwegian camp before the meeting with the American president. On Saturday,Trump returned to claims made in the book ‘Fire and Fury’, and said that he is mentally stable, and really smart, yes, even a genius.
‘I am confident that Erna Solberg will do very well. And it’s important to keep in mind that Trump does not stand alone, but that there are other people around the table who will be able to get the message from the Norwegian side,’ said the source.
Solberg and Trump have met before, in connection with meetings in NATO and G20, but this will be the first bilateral meeting between the two.
‘This is a pleasant and useful visit which emphasises the good bilateral relationship between Norway and the United States,’ said the prime minister to NTB news when it became known that she will take a brief break in government talks to travel to the White House.
Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, who has not met Trump before, will also be on the trip. There are also meetings with Foreign Minister, Rex Tillerson,Defence Minister, Jim Mattis, National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster, and Congressional Representatives, including Paul Ryan.
Defence and Security Policy, NATO, the coalition against IS, and trade and investment, will be discussed during the Washington talks according to the White House.
From the Norwegian side, it has been announced that international issues relating to peace processes and climate policy will also be discussed during the talks. That Trump has taken the United States out of the Paris agreement, and that global warming is hardly among the president’s favourite themes won’t prevent Solberg from addressing them.
‘I will explain Norway’s view that it is important to follow up the Paris agreement.
It is quite natural for me to address this question’, the Prime Minister assured NTB.
Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, goes to Washington after talks with political leaders in Israel and Palestine. On Saturday, she told NTB news that she expects the Middle East conflict will also be discussed during Wednesday’s meeting in the White House.
The Korean Peninsula crisis is also expected to be discussed. The United States and Canada will attend the summit in Vancouver later this month, with Søreide as a Norwegian participant.
In addition to being carefully prepared, one must ask what the other party is concerned about, said NTB’s source.
‘We can’t just talk about what Norway is interested in. We must have something to offer as well. But the government has done this many times before, and this helps in many ways’, he said.
Meetings like that one on Wednesday usually last no more than half an hour, so what is being said is limited . You don’t cover everything.
‘Occasionally, you choose to leave a piece of paper with some points of contact, which sums up what you haven’t touched upon,’ said the source.
Controversial issues, such as climate policy, are the best to take up, he believes.
‘As long as it is done properly, there is nothing in the way of addressing difficult topics. You should behave correctly, and be polite and straightforward, without exaggerating too much. And I’d probably be prepared to give a hard handshake, said the source with a smile.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today